DICE and the Carbon Budget for Ambitious Climate Targets
Other text in scientific journal, 2021

The Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model is one of the most influential Integrated Assessment Models available. Its founder Professor William Nordhaus was recently awarded Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel due to his pioneering work on the economics of climate change. In a recent paper in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Nordhaus uses the model to conclude that a 2.5°C target is almost out of reach. In this paper, we update DICE 2016 R2 with state-of-the-art models of the carbon cycle, heat uptake into the oceans, and the role of non-CO2 forcers. We find that the allowable remaining carbon budget (over the period 2015–2100) to meet a 2.5°C target to be 2,360 GtCO2 whereas the estimate obtained using DICE 2016 R2 is about 460 GtCO2. Nordhaus's estimate of the remaining carbon budget for this target is hence five times lower than estimates made by our updated DICE. We also compare our results with estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and find our results to be in line with the carbon budgets presented in IPCC SR 1.5. We explain the reasons behind the difference between our result and that of Nordhaus and propose that an updated climate module in DICE is warranted.

climate stabilization


integrated assessment models

emission pathways


Christian Azar

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Daniel Johansson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Earth's Future

23284277 (eISSN)

Vol. 9 7 e2021EF002041

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories


Probability Theory and Statistics

Climate Research



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